A member of the GMB union, whose thumb was crushed as he tried to unload a trailer at work, has recovered £5,500 in personal injury compensation from his employer through his GMB membership, which funded the professional help of Thompsons Solicitors.

Ian Castle, from Grimsby in North East Lincolnshire, worked as a lorry driver for general haulage firm P A Dunwell Transport Limited and was injured as a result of his employer’s failure to ensure safe work systems and adequate training.

The accident occurred when Mr Castle was lowering the roof door of the lorry he was unloading. The roof door crashed down on him suddenly, hitting him in the shoulder and trapping his thumb against a lever.

“It ripped my thumb nail right off, broke the bone and ended up giving me nine stitches,” says Mr Castle, “and to add insult to injury I had to go back to work before it was properly healed.”

“I couldn’t afford any more sick leave and the boss was completely unsympathetic. From his attitude I knew that if I didn’t take up a case these kinds of injuries would just keep on happening.”

Thumb is still painful more than a year after the accident

More than a year after the accident Mr Castle continues to feel pain in his thumb, his nail has been permanently deformed and he has a scar across the nail that is also likely to be permanent.

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary, says: “There are thousands of laws about employers making sure their workers are safe at work. But every year GMB funds personal injury claims that enforce those laws and get justice for GMB members injured at work. I am delighted that Mr Castle’s foresight in belonging to GMB enabled the Union to get justice for him.

“Unfortunately many employers are careless with the health and safety of their employees and it takes a lot of money to fund personal injury claims. Mr Castle’s access to GMB’s free legal service has proved its worth yet again.”

Laura Hadfield from Thompsons Solicitors says: “Employers have a legal responsibility to provide safe work systems and to ensure their employees are properly trained. This settlement recognises that P A Dunwell Transport failed Ian on both counts.”

This news story was also published by Yorkshire Post and This is Grimsby.